Could Brian Burns miss Carolina Panthers season opener over contract stalemate?

Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Could stud pass-rusher Brian Burns resort to holding out during the Carolina Panthers' season opener against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1?

The clock continues to tick and every Carolina Panthers fan is waiting for positive developments regarding Brian Burns' potential new deal. Things seem to be reaching a tipping point between the edge rusher and the organization, which is something that's already caused an unnecessary distraction heading into Week 1.

Burns is looking to get paid like one of the league's best pass-rushers. His full body of work, improvements with every passing year, and the fact Carolina hasn't got anyone else capable of generating consistent pressure mean those in power would be wise to pay him accordingly before things get more complicated.

Carolina Panthers need Brian Burns on the field in Week 1

Multiple reporters with knowledge of the situation feel like the Panthers and Burns are some way off. Many are also speculating that general manager Scott Fitterer and other influential figures could be slow playing this until Nick Bosa's market-resetting deal with the San Francisco 49ers becomes public knowledge.

This is a dangerous tactic and one that could ruin the good faith shown by Burns this summer. While the likes of Bosa and Chris Jones are holding out, the former first-round selection out to Florida State showed up to camp, was highly committed, and led by example to earn significant praise from head coach Frank Reich.

The Panthers have no leverage here and everyone knows it. That's why linebacker Shaq Thompson expects something to get worked out based on his comments via David Newton of ESPN.

"Everybody here knows, everybody outside of here knows, everybody in the stands know, everybody above us knows he deserves what he should get paid. They know to make it right before Week 1. We know he's gonna be out there at the end of the day. He knows he's gonna be out there at the end of the day. Everybody upstairs better know he better be out there by Wednesday. He's a big factor in this defense. He's the one it really starts with."

Shaq Thompson via ESPN

Even though Burns is taking a stand - which he is well within his right to do - the player's mindset suggests he won't miss out on helping Carolina get their campaign off on a positive note with victory over Atlanta on Sunday. That's not the sort of character he is, even if nothing has been set in stone as yet.

Reich was diplomatic when probed about Burns' absence from Carolina's walk-through on Monday via USA Today Sports. But it's clear the pass-rusher's potential absence for his first game as head coach is weighing heavily on his mind.

"It’s hard. It’s hard. Like I can say—and both of these things can be true—I can say I love and respect Brian Burns and he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. But does it make it harder? Yeah, it makes it harder. I mean, that’s just the facts. I’m sure he understands that. And you can’t find more of a team guy than him. Life is complicated sometimes. It’s complicated. So, we just keep movin’ forward day by day."

Frank Reich via USA Today Sports

According to Will Kunkel of FOX Houston, talks haven't progressed between the Panthers and Burns' representatives today (Tuesday). They showed their hand regarding his importance by turning down two first-round picks and a second-rounder before the 2022 trade deadline, so why they're arguing over a few measly dollars is nothing short of bizarre.

If this backfires, you can put Fitterer on the hot seat.